LABOR LOSES IN BRENT EAST….The big news in England today is that for the first time in 15 years the Labor Party has lost a by-election. Labor’s Paul Daisley won the Brent East district by a huge majority of 13,000 votes in 2001, but in yesterday’s election, following Daisley’s death, the Liberal Democratic candidate won by over a thousand votes. (The Conservative candidate came in a dismal third.)

What with disquiet over the war combined with the revelations of the Hutton inquiry, this was bound to be a bad time for Labor, but even so that’s a mighty big turnaround. It would be sort of like a Democrat winning Tom DeLay’s district these days.

The next parliamentary election doesn’t need to be held until 2006, so it’s best not to make too much of this. After all, Iraq will have faded by then. Still, this certainly isn’t good news for either Tony Blair or the war crowd.